Singapore-based artificial intelligence company AntWorks has secured $15 million in a Series A funding round from SBI Investment, and launched a joint venture with the Japanese VC firm, according to an official release.
AntWorks describes itself as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Automation products and solutions company. It develops an intelligent automation platform, ANTstein, to provide deep automation solutions to enterprises of all sizes.
The company, which provides solutions for over 450 customers and claims a presence in 4 continents, says it will release its new Robotic Process Automation (RPA) product, SQUARE, at the end of this year.
The investment from SBI, which is the subsidiary of Tokyo-listed SBI Holdings, will provide an impetus for the company’s next level of growth in Artificial Intelligence & Enterprise RPA, as well as fuel its R&D, strengthen its marketing and sales engine, and boost its foray into new markets.
The joint venture, meanwhile, will see both companies joining forces to tap the tremendous opportunities in the emerging AI space in South East Asia.
“SBI Holdings reposing this faith in us with both the investment and the joint venture is a validation and an opportunity to grow and come into what we have always believed AntWorks can be – a true leader forging a new path, reimagining business as usual,” said AntWork Founder and CEO Asheesh Mehra.
Commenting on the deal and partnership, SBI Holdings Representative Director, President, and CEO, Yoshitaka Kitao, said, “SBI Group is actively involved in introducing RPA solutions to financial institutions in Japan and strongly believes in the future of this field. We are excited with the possibilities of ANTstein™ and look forward to their growth in the Asian region through our joint venture, as well as globally.”
Earlier this year, SBI Investment established a new fund called SBI AI and Blockchain Fund with a target corpus of JPY 50 billion ($451.5 million) to invest in a broad range of AI and blockchain businesses, including fintech, IoT, robotics and sharing economy startups.
The new fund is a successor to the company’s FinTech Fund, which is managed by SBI Investment, the core company in SBI Group’s Asset Management Business. The fintech fund was closed in December 2015 with commitments of JPY 30 billion ($270.9 million).
One of the firm’s most recent investments was in Boston-based data unification firm Tamr Inc. SBI participated in an $18-million round of funding for the startup, along with other prominent investors including Samsung Ventures and Fenox Venture Capital.